Power ballad Sanchez vs. "genius" Phillips on "Idol"

Wed May 23, 2012 3:07am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jessica Sanchez, the teen with the big voice, chose power ballads while Phillip Phillips went with an indie vibe as the two diverse "American Idol" finalists sang on Tuesday for the hearts and votes of America.

Sanchez, 16, bidding to become the youngest ever winner of America's most-watched TV show, was deemed ahead after performing songs made famous by Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.

But it was acoustic guitar-playing Phillips who brought all three judges to their feet at the end of the performance finale.

"You were perfect tonight, and I think you are the man," said judge Steven Tyler as Phillips closed the show with his potential first single "Home" - a song that mixed the style of folk-rock band Mumford and Sons with Paul Simon and featured a marching band.

Randy Jackson called the Georgia singer's performance "brilliant, genius" and added "Dude I loved the song! I loved you. I loved the production ... Everything about that was perfect."

Phillips, 21, also put his own spin on his two other songs - Billy Joel's "Movin' Out" and the classic "Stand By Me" - earning screams of adulation from the audience of 7,000 in Los Angeles. But he failed to convince the three judges.

"This is a tough one," said Jennifer Lopez. "It's like a battle of the opposites."

"JUST OKAY"   Continued...

Contestant Jessica Sanchez poses at the party for the finalists of the television show "American Idol" in Los Angeles, California March 1, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni